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Adolescent Literacy: State Has Strengthened Teacher Preparation/Certification Requirements to Support Adolescent Literacy Needs

Traditionally the teaching of reading has been confined to the primary grades. Awareness of the need to address adolescent literacy has resulted in states incorporating literacy instruction in their secondary-level teacher preparation and certification requirements.

Why does it matter?

  • Secondary-level teacher certification programs have traditionally not prepared teachers to teach reading or how to intervene when students are reading below grade level.
  • Eliminating reading difficulties requires the integration of literacy training across the content areas.
  • Highlights:

  • Seventeen states have strengthened the teacher preparation/certification requirements to reflect adolescent literacy.
  • Unlike other states, to be recertified in Idaho, Title I, special education and K-8 teachers and administrators must take a three-credit course called "Idaho Comprehensive Literacy" or pass a reading assessment measures based on the Idaho comprehensive literacy plan. 

  • Note:
    A simple "yes" indicates that all candidates for secondary-level certification complete coursework in adolescent literacy.

    Methodology: The information was collected from state statutes, recently enacted legislation (session laws), and rules and regulations. Where necessary, statewide initiatives created outside of policy were collected from state agencies. The information will be updated as changes occur.

    Sources for all data points are available through this link.

    Last updated: June 2008

    Research was conducted by Melodye Bush. Please contact Bush at 303-299-3631 or mbush@ecs.org with comments or questions about this database.

    State has strengthened teacher preparation/certification requirements to support adolescent literacy needs
    Alabama Yes
    California Yes
    Connecticut Yes
    Florida Yes. Just Read, Florida! office is required to work with teacher preparation programs to integrate research-based reading strategies into programs. In addition, the office is to periodically review teacher certification examinations to determine whether the exams measure the skills needed for reading instruction and instructional strategies for teaching reading in the content areas.
    Georgia Yes
    Idaho Yes, to be recertified, Title I, special education and K-8 teachers and administrators must take a three-credit course called "Idaho Comprehensive Literacy" or pass a reading assessment measures based on the Idaho comprehensive literacy plan.
    Louisiana Yes, legislation requires hours in the teaching of reading to be separated from English courses, and that courses in the teaching of reading emphasize techniques of teaching reading and the correction of student reading problems.
    Massachusetts Yes
    Michigan Yes, in order to advance to a professional certification, a teacher must complete a course of study in the diagnosis and remediation of reading disabilities and differential instruction. The study must include field experience. This study may be completed as part of a teacher preparation program or during the first six years of employment in classroom training.
    Minnesota Yes
    New Mexico Yes
    New York Yes
    North Carolina Yes
    Oklahoma Yes
    Rhode Island No, but 2000 legislation established a panel to review (1) the research on how reading is learned and (2) the knowledge and skills teachers need to deliver effective reading instruction. The panel's findings were used to develop a statewide reading success institute for educators.
    Tennessee Yes
    Texas No, however reading-related provisions of 2007 legislation direct the commissioner of education to establish teacher academies for teachers providing reading instruction for students in grades 6-8 by June 1, 2008. Attendance in a reading academy is required for all teachers of reading in grades 6-8 on campuses rated academically unacceptable based on reading assessments. 
    Virginia Yes
    Wisconsin Yes


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